As a defender of the “stand your ground” laws that many states in America have, I have to say something about Michael Drejka who shot Markeis McGlockton at a convenient store. If you watch the video of the incident, McGlockton saw Drejka talking to his wife in a car parked in a handicapped parking spot and without much provocation at all, shoved the guy so hard it put him on the ground. Then Drejka did something really stupid, he pulled out a gun and shot McGlockton in the chest, killing him. Both acts were stupid, McGlockton should have known that this isn’t a jungle setting and that you can’t just go around pushing people around because you are the biggest animal in an attempt to protect your “mate.” Drejka should have pushed McGlockton back and fought him hand to hand instead of just doing the easy thing and just shooting the bigger man dead.
That’s not all that’s wrong with this scene, McGlockton should have never just parked recklessly in the handicapped zone. Doing so showed tremendous disrespect for the law. But then Drejka should have not pressed the issue as far as he did with McGlockton’s wife. Maybe he should have said to her that she should not have parked there and left it alone. Obviously both men involved in this incident were making power moves over the other, and that led to a conflict—which could have easily been avoided. The fault is not the NRA’s or the Florida “Stand Your Ground” law that gave Drejka the legal right to open fire because McGlockton created a situation of imminent threat as perceived by the smaller man Drejka. McGlockton should have never parked in the handicapped zone and Drejka should have minded his own business. The store located in a run-down suburb of Clearwater, Florida wasn’t going to dramatically improve by enforcing a handicapped parking violation. It could be argued that if someone wanted to make the neighborhood better that it starts with little things. But shooting a man dead in front of his kids doesn’t solve any problems, especially when he wasn’t armed with anything except for a bigger body.
There was plenty of blame to go around over the incident. Up until this moment I didn’t mention that McGlockton was a black man, because it shouldn’t matter. But now that blacks have taken to the streets in an effort to make it an issue of racism, it changes things considerably. While it’s terribly sad that the three kids involved in the incident lost their father for really something stupid, it was their disregard for the law in the first place that ignited the incident. McGlockton was teaching his kids that they could do anything they want wherever they went and if anybody challenged them, then they could just kick the ass of whoever was involved. That travesty started when McGlockton parked his car and went into the store to get some snacks for his family. His resolution for resolving a conflict was violence. He didn’t try to talk to Drejka or provide a reason for what was happening, he just resorted to brute force to intimidate Drejka into submission. If anyone is concerned about racism and the reason that law biding white people are afraid of law breaking black people, this incident is a perfect example. If blacks want to be treated fairly, they need to assimilate into a law biding culture. But if they are parking in handicapped parking places to show a disregard for the rules of white people, and when challenged want to pick a fight, then there will continue to be animosity between the two sides.
If it would have been me I would have never even thought to pull a gun on McGlockton for just a silly push. If Drejka wanted to be a tough guy, which he obviously did, he should have fought McGlockton man to man without using a gun in any way. The situation clearly didn’t call for deadly force. If Drejka was intent to intrude on another family’s business, he should have had the guts to fight McGlockton directly. The two men might have lost some teeth and had some broken bones, but they’d all be alive today and there would be a lot less trouble. While advocates of peace would say that no conflict should have occurred, sometimes an ass kicking is needed and it looks like McGlockton had one coming, just because he was obviously used to using his big body and his skin color as leverage in society to push people around.
But this was not an example of why Florida has a “Stand Your Ground” law. The gun should have never been pulled from Drejka’s pocket. Stand your ground laws are for situations much less obvious, such as someone breaking into your home. Or when an attacker is presenting deadly force as a direct threat to you such as using a knife, a chair, or a gun themselves. Not an unarmed man just threatening physical violence. Even after pulling the gun, McGlockton took a step back—and that’s when Drejka should have put the gun away and brought down the tempers of the incident. Instead he pulled the trigger showing terrible judgment. Such a handling of a gun is a terrible use of the responsibility of carrying one. It was just stupid in every way you can look at it.
However, Stand Your Ground is needed, because there are often thugs running around like McGlockton who do think to use weapons to rob, steal, and intimidate innocent people and they need to know that there is a chance that someone will pull a gun on them and shoot them dead. I say that McGlockton was a thug because he fundamentally didn’t care about the rules of the handicapped zone. If he’s not going to observe that simple little law whose to say that he would obey other laws created by white society—in his view—and sought to use force to push the limits of anything he could get away with. With such people police officers have little means to enforce a law that all members of society will observe so at that point people like carrying weapons around as civilians are really our only means of enforcement. Even though there is a desire to use racism to punish Drejka for such a poor use of a firearm, the sheriff knows that if not for such gun owners, that society in his community would break down to every thug walking around seeking to dominate others with sheer intimidation.
Stand your Ground laws should be present in every state and community because it is essential to the preservation of private property, individual rights and the basics of the rule of law. Critics will say that we are not living in the Wild, Wild West and we should not be giving civilians guns to walk around in public with. But, we aren’t living in the jungle either where primates fight each other over the mating rights of a female, and so long as we have sectors of society who do think we live by the laws of the jungle, we will always have a need to use deadly force to put down dangerous attackers who threaten the basic responsibilities of a civilized society. Parking in a handicapped zone was an open disrespect for a basic law, and it started a fight that was handled poorly. But the first mistake happened when McGlockton parked in the wrong place and when someone questioned him, he resorted to violence. He shouldn’t have died over it, but the original fault was completely his.
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